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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Shelob’s Lair Pt. 4 ~ The Star-glass (#4 of 9).

Posted on 2007.08.05 at 20:25
Tags: ,
~*~




The pictures say it all for this sequence. I love these screencaps, showcasing as they do Elijah Wood doing more fine work in an exciting, splendidly shot scene. His face as he turns to see what it is that has been sending prickles up his spine is *wonderful*.

But however compelling the film scene, I have always regretted the way Elijah Wood rattled off the Elvish declaration, “Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!"*. The words are beautiful spoken aloud, and majestic. He spit them out so fast they were completely garbled. Perhaps he meant to convey Frodo's desperation, saying it like a hastily remembered magic charm to make the light work. Or perhaps he thought that since Frodo didn't know what he was saying, he would say it like gibberish. I don't know. Book Frodo did not know what he was saying, but I have always imagined him speaking the words as the words of power they are. Even if he didn't know what they meant, it seems to me he would sense their importance, as words sent to him as a gift unlooked for in his hour of need.

So even if film Frodo, like book Frodo, didn't know what he was saying, I think he could have spoken the words as if they really mattered. They were not a "magic charm", but a proclamation.

*Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! is Quenya for, "Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!".


~*~



Book scene, cont’d, from Shelob’s Tunnel, TTT.


Slowly his hand went to his bosom, and slowly he held aloft the Phial of Galadriel. For a moment it glimmered, faint as a rising star struggling in heavy earthward mists, and then as its power waxed, and hope grew in Frodo’s mind, it began to burn, and kindled to a silver flame, a minute heart of dazzling light, as though Eärendil had himself come down from the high sunset paths with the last Silmaril upon his brow. The darkness receded from it, until it seemed to shine in the centre of a glove of airy crystal, and the hand that held it sparkled with white fire.

Frodo gazed in wonder at this marvellous gift that he had so long carried, not guessing its full worth and potency. Seldom had he remembered it on the road, until they came to Morgul Vale, and never had he used it for fear of its revealing light. Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! he cried, and knew not what he had spoken; for it seemed that another voice spoke through his, clear, untroubled by the foul air of the pit.

But other potencies there are in Middle-earth, powers of night, and they are old and strong. And She that walked in the darkness had heard the Elves cry that cry far back in the deeps of time, and she had not heeded it, and it did not daunt her now. Even as Frodo spoke he felt a great malice bent on him, and a deadly regard considering him. Not far down the tunnel, between them and the opening where they had reeled and stumbled, he was aware of eyes growing visible, two great clusters of many-windowed eyes—the coming menace was unmasked at last. The radiance of the star-glass was broken and thrown back from their thousand facets, but behind the glitter a pale deadly fire began steadily to glow within, a flame kindled in some deep pit of evil thought. Monstrous and abominable eyes they were, bestial and yet filled with purpose and with hideous delight, gloating over their prey trapped beyond all hope of escape.


~*~




Film Scene: Frodo realises his plight.


Frodo, terrified, raises the Phial of Galadriel.

Frodo: Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! [‘Hail, Eärendil brightest of the Stars!’]



~*~













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~*~








Entries in the Shelob's Lair series:



~ Pt. 1: Entering the tunnel.


~ Pt. 2: Frodo is betrayed.


~ Pt. 3: Shelob perceived, plus jan-u-wine’s “That Which Waits”.


~ Pt. 4: The Star-glass.


~ Pt. 5: Shelob attacks.


~ Pt. 6: Gollum taunts Frodo.


~ Pt. 7: Frodo attacked by Gollum.


~ Pt. 8: Gollum makes his plea.


~ Pt. 9: Frodo resolves to go forward, plus jan-u-wine’s “The Web-ring”.




Tables of Links:



~ Frodo and Elijah screencaps Main Page.



~ Mechtild


Comments:


verangel
verangel at 2007-08-06 01:43 (UTC) (Link)
This is the first time I heard what those words really stood for. It is so beautiful when you think of it.. .The calling of the stars to help in ones way.
Really, in the fact that a hobbit was trying to speak something unfamilliar, I think he did a great job. There is no magesty in this moment. There was only fear and grappling and trying to remember. It was a desperate moment. Elijah, to me, did it wonderfully.
I guess he could have looked like he knew what he was calling, or used better diction, but in the end, I think that the little hobbit, who was unfamiliar with this and so scared...made this moment magic and fearsome.
I loved it. xoxox v
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-08-06 02:09 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much for commenting, Verangel! Your passion and enthusiasm for Frodo and his actor shines through everything you write. I agree that there is no majesty in the moment; on the contrary, poor Frodo! He's as miserable in this scene as he could be! But there *is* majesty in what Frodo says, even if he doesn't know what he's saying, or how it came to him. Even if he himself doesn't sense the power of the Elves and the Valar in his mysterious exclamation (and I think in the book he does, and finds saying the words empowering, but he says the words in a very different scene in the book), the film audience should get a sense of it by the way he says it. Neither the readers of the book nor the viewers of the film could be expected to know what the Elvish means, but they should be able to tell that it means something very important, bearing a power beyond explanation. That's how Elvish things are portrayed in the story. Lembas isn't just some really great waybread, it sustains the eater's spirit. The star-glass is not just a really great flashlight but a beacon of hope to the bearer, which strikes terror in the heart of the wicked, the Elvish words aren't just cool but unintelligible words, but a beacon of hope and a fire in the heart of the speaker, even though he doesn't know what they mean.

I don't mean to sound like I'm arguing with you, Verangel, going on about this. Forgive me if it sounds that way. I'm just trying to clarify my thoughts. :)
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2007-08-06 02:21 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Mews, for commenting. Yes, he's super in this scene. That reaction shot when he finally sees Shelob is terrific.

I still regret the way he delivered the Elvish line, although I hear what you are saying. I love the emotion with which he said it, too. But I miss hearing the line. I said something similar about his "taste of strawberries" speech, too. I loved the emotion he conveyed in that scene. It was heartbreakingly, and utterly convincing. But I missed being able to understand the lines, which I think are great.

I don't think it hurt the scene for most viewers that his lines were unintelligible, since the emotion was there to the *nth* degree in both scenes I have mentioned. In the case of the Elvish speech in Shelob's lair, it's not a matter of understanding it (which mattered to me in the "strawberries" speech). No one but a book fan who had read the footnotes on the Elvish or had looked it up or who spoke Elvish would have understood it, even if it had been spelled out on the screen in subtitles. But, as I said to Verangel, it's important to me because of the theme it underscores -- the power of the Elvish words declared -- that I wish EW had let the words themselves shine through more.

Again, obviously the scenes worked for me emotionally and dramatically, or I wouldn't be boo-hooing over them and sighing over the screencaps. But I do love Tolkien's language very much and am always sorry when it is lost, when it might not have been.
magpie_2
magpie_2 at 2007-08-10 04:53 (UTC) (Link)

just looking at these makes my heart start to pound! thank you for another insightful post!
mechling at 2007-08-10 05:43 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for stopping in, Cat. I'm glad to hear Mr. Baggins is still making your heart pound. :)

~ Mechtild
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